Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State, said the study suggests that because walnuts lowered central pressure, their risk of cardiovascular disease may have also decreased.
She said: “When participants ate whole walnuts, they saw greater benefits than when they consumed a diet with a similar fatty acid profile as walnuts without eating the nut itself.
“So, it seems like there’s a little something extra in walnuts that are beneficial maybe their bioactive compounds, maybe the fibre, maybe something else that you don’t get in the fatty acids alone.”
The researchers think that lowering central blood pressure with the walnut diet may also decrease overall cardiovascular disease risk among the participants on this diet.
However, it is worth noting that the study only included 45 participants. So, larger studies will be needed to firm up the conclusions.
The take-home message is that for people at risk of cardiovascular disease, Professor Kris-Etherton suggests “instead of reaching for fatty red meat or full-fat dairy products for a snack, consider having some skim milk and walnuts”.